A black cake for all your Fiftieth Birthday Party needs

Frankly it doesn’t seem to have taken 50 years to get to this point, but here we are, my twin brother and I, fifty years old yesterday.

Here is the cake I made to celebrate our semi-centennial:

Black Midnight Cake

I got this recipe here. I made mine blacker by using black cocoa powder rather than Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder. Believe me, the cocoa powder I used was very black.

In case you’re curious, it turns out that black cocoa powder is made by very heavily “dutching” regular cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa powder is much less acid than natural cocoa powder, which means it doesn’t react with baking soda, so any recipe using it must use baking powder, or both baking soda and baking powder, depending. As you can see, the recipe below uses both. The buttermilk should react with the baking soda, then the baking powder adds more lift. Dutch cocoa powder is milder in flavor but produces moister baked goods than natural,and in general I would suggest using both to intensify the chocolate flavor of the cake, but I wanted this cake super dark so I just used black cocoa powder.

If you read through the post where I got this recipe, you’ll see some of the people who try it say the cake turned out dry. I would bet they used natural rather than Dutch cocoa powder. When I made it with black cocoa powder, it was quite moist. The coffee and cayenne are not perceptible but serve to deepen the chocolate flavor. Anyway, here you go, the recipe:

2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup hot strong brewed coffee
1 pinch cayenne
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine the cocoa powder, coffee, cayenne. Beat the oil with the sugar. Add the eggs and beat for 2 minutes to help aerate the batter. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and cocoa mixture. Beat to combine. Clean up the very, very black spatters that might have appeared on your counter top. Combine the dry ingredients and beat in gently. Pour into two 9-inch cake pans lined with circles of parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees until done (cake springs back when touched, a toothpick in the center comes out almost clean, about 35 minutes but start testing after 30 and it may go quite a bit longer depending on your oven). Cool in pans ten minutes, turn out on racks, cool completely and fill or frost as desired.

I made a black icing by combining:

8 oz cream cheese
1 C semisweet chocolate ships
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp or so black coloring gel

This didn’t make enough icing, so I also made the following filling:

4 oz cream cheese
3 oz white chocolate
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sour cream

I filled the cake with the white filling and frosted the top and sides with the black frosting. As you can tell, I prefer less sweet frostings that are heavy on the cream cheese. Naturally you could use whatever kind of frosting you like. This frosting is black and shiny, so a dust of gold powder across the top finished it off.

It was really quite tasty. I recommend it to you all, if for some reason you would like to make a black black black cake.

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13 thoughts on “A black cake for all your Fiftieth Birthday Party needs”

  1. Congratulations to you both!

    I am turning 50 at the end of this year and may crib the recipe…

  2. Thanks, Alan! If I were making it again, I might add chocolate extract to punch up the chocolatiness of the cake. On the other hand, everyone else thought it was chocolaty enough.

  3. Thanks, Linda! (Your gift arrived … mmm!)

    My low-carb diet is taking a break till that cake is gone, Evelyn!

  4. Congratulations on your birthday, and on your delicious-looking black chocolate cake.

    Can you get my email address from my comments?
    If not I figured out a way to get it to you without putting it online, by posting it in a comment together with 4 YouTube links, so it gets sent to the spam folder, and posting another comment warning you about it so you can fish out my address and then delete the useless comment with the links. If and when you need me to do that in order to get the proofreading going you can let me know in this blog, as I always read all the posts and almost all the comments.

  5. I’m 60 the day after tomorrow, and though I don’t see the need for black I do like chocolate! (But Lent kind of precludes eggs and cream cheese, so I’ll wait until after Easter and make this)

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